I have pledged not to use Amazon for the whole of December but why wait? I stopped mid-November and had so much fun I may never use it to buy anything ever again. I realise, as writers, we need Amazon/Kindle in order to sell our own books but let’s hope someone with higher morals will come along to replace this company, or at least give us a choice.On our Sabbath (any day of the week we choose to take off and do no work) the LSO and I visited Tewkesbury and called in at Alison’s Book shop. And my heart expanded as I realised what I’d been missing.
1. All those books to see, touch, feel, smell, try out…2. Enough corners to hide behind so I could sniff the volumes in private.
3. An experienced salesperson to chat to.
4. Chairs to sit on whilst peering at the packed shelves or reading a few pages and making decisions.
5. A chance to listen to customers and hear how helpful the man behind the counter was. Examples. ‘Do you have a book of poetry – I’ve forgotten the title- but it has a poem about larks in it?’ ‘I’ve got some numbers for the books I want but they may have been written down wrongly…’
6. The joy of finding a favourite author and one of his books that I’d never read.
7. Discovering that the book is signed.
8. Getting a chance to discuss the author with the salesperson and discover he visits the shop to sign his books each time a new one comes out. I’ll be there next time.
9. To look at books that a certain company would never have recommended for me and find ones that I had never considered before.
10. The joy of wandering around with a bagful of books knowing that I had hours and hours of pleasure to come.
And a post-script. People who wander the streets, oblivious to others and to traffic, texting on their mobile phones annoy me so why did a guy walking through the shopping centre reading a book make me smile?